How to find employees in the Netherlands?

Many of my clients who are setting up a company in the Netherlands are looking to expand their market in Europe and need talented and experienced sales professionals to help them do this. They are looking for someone with a solid sales record, and the right character and mindset who understands the cultural difference and is able to speak both English and Dutch. Unfortunately, this can be a bit of a tall order when entering a new market.

Finding exceptional employees in the Netherlands

Finding a good candidate can be a challenge in the best of circumstances, but when you’re setting up a company in a new country whose workforce you aren’t familiar with it can add extra hurdles for you to jump. The Netherlands has over 9 million people in its workforce with a yearly unemployment average of 4.9%. As a new employer how do you find candidates and compete against established Dutch companies?

Hire a recruiter

If you can afford it, a recruiting agency is your easiest option. Recruiting agencies can charge somewhere between one to six months of your new employee’s salary.

While the cost seems high, recruiting agencies have already established access to pools of qualified individuals which cuts the effort down on your part significantly. Not only do they have access to potential employees, they can also cut down the administrative time by screening and putting forward candidates for you to interview.

Unfortunately, not everyone has the budget to hire an external recruiting agency to find employees. If that’s the case for you and your company, there are a few do-it-yourself methods you can implement to help you find your ideal candidates in the Netherlands.

Advertise online

The recruiting world is digital, which works wonders for you if you are setting up shop before arriving on the ground in the Netherlands. Much like recruiting in your base country, there are online job boards where you can post listings for your future employees. Some of the top job boards in the Netherlands include:,,Nationale Vacaturebankand Vacaturekrant.

LinkedIn job postings

LinkedIn Recruiter is a great resource for those of us looking for the perfect fit for their companies. According to their statistics, 75% of professional recruiters prefer the LinkedIn Recruiter tool to others. Recruiters have access to over 560 million potential candidates and its advanced filtering system means that you can look for employees that match your requirements.

Of course, LinkedIn recruiter comes at a price, but it’s significantly less than it would be to hire a recruiter. With this tool you can tap into the already online active workforce and make sure you weed out those who don’t fit what you’re looking for but with less of a time requirement on your end.

Focus on freelancing or contract employees

Hiring a freelance or contract employee could be a good option for those with a limited budget that want to start to explore the market immediately, but are not yet ready to employ a full time employee.

The Netherlands is home to many freelancers that are paid on a contract or per task basis and charge an hourly or fixed rate amount. Because they are not your employees, there are a number of benefits such as reduced long-term labor costs, task flexibility and experience. If you need longer term employees, you can employee contract or freelance employees for a fixed amount of time, like hiring a business development manager for a 1-year fixed contract.

Freelance or contract employees simply work on what you assign them. Say, for example, you ask your contract employee to find you 10 local companies that may be interested in taking on a new product or service your company offers in the Netherlands, your contract freelancer will then find those organizations and can make appointments for you to meet the interested companies.

When you hire freelancer, you only pay for the work you want. It is an option that can give your start-up more flexibility to test and explore the market while keeping your costs low.

Understanding the cultural differences

It’s a job seeker’s market out there, so making your company stand out amongst the rest is key when you’re all looking for the same employee. Part of that differentiation is understanding the local customs and cultures of the Dutch workforce.

There are a number of cultural differences that exist within a Dutch workplace that as a new employer you should be aware of:

  • Dutch employees will challenge authority if they believe the demand is not right. Unlike in other cultures, Dutch employees do not necessarily believe that the boss is always right.
  • Dutch employees respect two-way communication, and the culture often requires confirmation that there is an understanding. Employees often smooth things over and it is not always the case that what they’re saying is the most direct truth.
  • Dutch employees thrive in a workplace culture that shows respect and appreciation. A little goes a long way, and appreciating your employees effort and a job well done will help build good working relationships.

While these are by no means the only cultural differences that exist in a Dutch workplace, understanding them will go a long way when it comes to building your Dutch workforce. And when it comes to recruiting candidates, though you’ll likely be looking for someone who speaks both Dutch and English, having your job posting translated and posted in Dutch is a nice touch.

SME Solutions is dedicated to helping our clients build lasting businesses in the Netherlands. If you are ready to start looking for employees in the Netherlands, SME Solutions is here to help you out!

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